Denver, Colo., Jul 27, 2023 / 15:45 pm
A year after Pope Francis visited Canada to apologize for the Catholic Church’s mistreatment of the country’s Indigenous people, the country’s bishops have shared their reflections on his visit and their efforts to serve and reconcile with Indigenous communities.
“During those days with Pope Francis in Canada, we recognized in him the Lord’s mercy, which he offered to us,” Bishop Raymond Poisson, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), said in a July 26 statement from the bishops’ conference.
“We realized that the Holy Father’s presence had involved great personal and physical effort on his part, but we also knew how much his encounters with Indigenous peoples represented, and still represent a living expression of a mutual effort — the Holy Father with the Church in Canada — to ‘walk together’ and to open up new horizons of hope within our communities,” Poisson said.
The bishops’ conference statement cited four separate pastoral letters on reconciliation with Indigenous Canadians. Three were addressed separately to each of Canada’s distinct Indigenous communities: the First Nations, the Inuit, and the Métis. A fourth letter was addressed to Catholics generally. These letters drew on listening sessions and other encounters with Indigenous Canadians.